Entry number 14:
Quote Originally Posted by Thalin Iron Bow
Thalin "Iron Bow"
"What is Truth?' What kind of moronic question is that? You want to know what the Truth is? I ran out of arrows."

Background
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So, you want to know why they call me "Iron Bow", eh? Well, the short answer is that I know how to use my bow for more than just putting arrows into some hapless orc. The long answer is a bit of a story, so take a seat over by the campfire, and start assembling these arrows - you may as well do something productive while you listen to me ramble.

It was a few years back, when that necromancer took up in the Hearthfire watchtower and started stirring up trouble in the area. We generally had no trouble keeping his little horde clear of the village walls, but they were making hunting difficult. So we sent out several groups of hunters in hopes that at least some of them would bring back enough food.

While a few of the hunter groups did manage to bring back fresh kills, most of us ran into something a bit more ... lively? Turns out the necromancer was out and about with his horde, and of course our scouts missed the signs (it was probably the blizzard). So we found ourselves in a close range firefight, with a whole mess of skeletons. In case you weren't aware, a good solid hunting arrow isn't worth much against those walking rattles. We were able to surround the necromacer and turn him into a pin cushion pretty quickly, but the skeletons were all over us and getting away from them wasn't going to happen. You can only pack about twenty arrows into a quiver, and I made each one count. Once I'd fired all of them, I did the only thing I could think of. I started beating the skeletons down with my bow. Now I'm not saying that it's a great option, or that you should rush headlong at a screaming orc while swinging your bow, but that day it worked out for me. So much so that afterward I reinforced my bow and the bowyers here in the village have started to do the same.

So there you have it. That's also why they call us the Order of the Bow, and not the Order of the Arrow. But before you rush on out and grab yourself your own iron bow, let me give you some final words of advice. Don't. The best living you can make in this village isn't as a hunter, guard, or wandering adventurer. You want to know who the wealthiest man in a village full of archers is? The guy who makes the arrows.


Build
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Thalin "Iron Bow"
NG Snow Elf Thug Fighter 2/Warblade 3/Bloodstorm Blade 1/Order of the Bow Initiate 10/Eternal Blade 4

Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
1st Thug Fighter 1 +1 +2 +0 +0 (4+Int) Balance (2), Concentration (2), Craft(Bowmaking) 4, Knowledge(Religion) (2), Knowledge(Local) 4, Spot (2) Point Blank Shot
2nd Thug Fighter 2 +2 +3 +0 +0 (4+Int) Balance (2.5), Concentration (2.5), Craft(Bowmaking) 5, Knowledge(Religion) (2.5), Knowledge(Local) 5, Spot (2.5) Weapon Focus(Longbow)B Bonus Feat
3rd Warblade 1 +3 +5 +0 +0 (4+Int) Balance 3.5, Concentration 3.5, Craft(Bowmaking) 6, Knowledge(Religion) (3.5), Knowledge(Local) 6, Spot (3.5) Precise Shot Battle Clarity(Reflexes), Weapon Aptitude
4th Warblade 2 +4 +6 +0 +0 (4+Int) Balance 5.5, Concentration, Craft(Bowmaking) 7, Knowledge(Local) 7, Knowledge(Religion) (4), Spot (4) Uncanny Dodge
5th Warblade 3 +5 +6 +1 +1 (4+Int) Balance 8.5, Concentration 4.5, Craft(Bowmaking) 8, Knowledge(Local) 8 Battle Ardor(Critical Confirmation)
6th Bloodstorm Blade 1 +6 +8 +1 +1 (4+Int) Balance 9.5, Concentration 5.5, Craft(Bowmaking) 9, Spot 7 Rapid Shot, Throw AnythingB Returning Attacks, Throw Anything, Weapon Aptitude
7th Order of the Bow Initiate 1 +7 +8 +3 +3 (2+Int) Balace (10), Craft(Bowmaking) 10, Knowledge(Religion) 5, Spot 8 Ranged Precision +1d8
8th Order of the Bow Initiate 2 +8 +8 +4 +4 (2+Int) Concentration (6), Craft(Bowmaking) 11, Knowledge(Religion) 6, Spot 9 Close Combat Shot
9th Order of the Bow Initiate 3 +9 +9 +4 +4 (2+Int) Craft(Bowmaking) 12, Knowledge(Religion) 7, Spot 11 Weapon Focus(Quarterstaff) Ranged Precision +2d8
10th Order of the Bow Initiate 4 +10 +9 +5 +5 (2+Int) Craft(Bowmaking) 13, Knowledge(Religion) 8, Spot 13 Greater Weapon Focus(Longbow)B Greater Weapon Focus
11th Order of the Bow Initiate 5 +11 +9 +5 +5 (2+Int) Craft(Bowmaking) 14, Knowledge(Religion) 10, Spot 14 Ranged Precision +3d8
12th Order of the Bow Initiate 6 +12 +10 +6 +6 (2+Int) Craft(Bowmaking) 15, Knowledge(Religion) 12, Spot 15 Knowledge Devotion, Sharp-ShootingB Sharp-Shooting
13th Order of the Bow Initiate 7 +13 +10 +6 +6 (2+Int) Craft(Bowmaking) 16, Knowledge(Religion) 14, Spot 16 Ranged Precision +4d8
14th Order of the Bow Initiate 8 +14 +10 +7 +7 (2+Int) Craft(Bowmaking) 17, Knowledge(Religion) 16, Spot 17
15th Order of the Bow Initiate 9 +15 +11 +7 +7 (2+Int) Craft(Bowmaking) 18, Knowledge(Religion) 18, Spot 18 Dead Eye Ranged Precision +5d8
16th Order of the Bow Initiate 10 +16 +11 +8 +8 (2+Int) Knowledge(Religion) 19, Spot 19, Spot the Weak Point Extended Precision
17th Eternal Blade 1 +17 +13 +8 +8 (2+Int) Knowledge(Religion) (20), Spot (20) Blade Guide, Eternal Training 1/day
18th Eternal Blade 2 +18 +14 +8 +8 (2+Int) Knowledge(Religion) (21), Spot (21) Penetrating Shot Guided Strike
19th Eternal Blade 3 +19 +14 +9 +9 (2+Int) Knowledge(Religion) (22), Spot (22) Armored Uncanny Dodge, Eternal Training 2/day
20th Eternal Blade 4 +20 +15 +9 +9 (2+Int) Knowledge(Religion) (23), Spot (23) Eternal Knowledge


Ability Scores
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Starting Ability Scores (including racial adjustments):
Str - 14
Dex - 18
Con - 14
Int - 14
Wis - 12
Cha - 6

Final Ability Scores:
Str - 15 (16th)
Dex - 23 (4th, 8th, 12th, 20th)
Con - 14
Int - 14
Wis - 12
Cha - 6


Maneuvers/Stances Known
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Maneuvers/Stances Known:
Level Initiator Level Maneuvers Known: Stances Known: Maneuvers & Stances
1 1 6 1
2 2 7 2
3 2 7 2 Punishing Stance, Moment of Perfect Mind, Leading the Attack, Steel Wind
4 3 7 2 Action Before Thought
5 3 7 2 Disarming Strike
6 4 8 2
7 5 9 2
8 6 9 2
9 6 9 2
10 7 9 2
11 7 9 2
12 8 9 2
13 8 9 2
14 9 9 2
15 9 9 2
16 10 9 2
17 10 9 2 White Raven Tactics
18 11 10 3
19 12 11 3 Moment of Alacrity
20 13 12 3


Breakpoints
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Level 5

Early on, Thalin is a solid archer who can mix it up in melee. He's seen his fair share of skirmishes where arrows were in short supply, has made sure to pick up an Elvencraft bow. Now he can empty his quiver and then knock some heads with his bow (which he treates as a Quarterstaff). He's focused more on practicality and skirmishing, so he went the path of the thug fighter for a little extra skill training.

Level 10, "Sweet Spot"

Thalin is about halfway through the SI, and he's been using the combat trick that earned him his nickname. Once he runs out of arrows in a fight, he can now start throwing his bow with the same sort of precision he's been using to place his arrows where they will do the most good. Bloodstorm Blade lets him throw his bow (which counts as a quarterstaff) and have it return after the attack, and the SI lets him use his Ranged Precision and Close Combat Shot class features with it. This is the sweet spot of the build, as all of Thalin's tricks are effectively online at this point, and everything else from here on out simply serves to enhance either getting that single shot to count, or helping to increase its damage.

Level 20

The build caps off with four levels of Eternal Blade. These levels bring several tasty spices to elevate the dish and make the SI shine. Eternal Knowledge builds on Knowledge Devotion to allow a boosted damage output against a larger variety of foes. Guided Strike lets him punch through DR. And Eternal Training let's him grab a maneuver for healing (Devoted Spirit), or a handy extra move action (Quicksilver Motion), or an extra bump on attack rolls to hit especially tough targets. Spot the Weak Point lets him turn one attack per encounter into a touch attack, and Penetrating Shot falls in line with his philosphy of making each arrow count (and appears to work with Ranged Precision, although the extra damage from that class feature would only apply to the first target).


Sources
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Player's Handbook (Fighter, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Weapon Focus)
Player's Handbook II (Penetrating Shot)
Complete Champion (Knowledge Devotion)
Complete Warrior (Order of the Bow Initiate)
Complete Scoundrel (Skill Trick)
Dragon Compendium (Dead Eye)
Tome of Battle (Warblade, Bloodstorm Blade, Eternal Blade, Maneuvers)
Unearthed Arcana (Thug Figher)
Frostburn (Snow Elf)